Breast Lift and Recommended Time off Work?

I've been wanting a breast lift for years now and surgery day is next week. I am truly excited and nervous about my up and coming surgery. The only thing is I also got a new job and I am a nurse. My surgery is on friday but orientation is the following week from tuesday-friday. During that time period I will probably be hands on with patients. My question is, what complications could I cause a week after surgery if I did semi-sternuous activity like turning patients?

Doctor Answers 17

Breast lift

Congratulations on your new job!  Recovery from a breast lift is not difficult and you should be able to return to work, without any heavy lifting in the time you laid out.  You should inform your supervisor that you are having surgery and will need light duty for about 2 weeks.  I'm sure he or she will understand, but you will need a letter from your surgeon.  You do not need to tell them what king of surgery you are having   (unless you want to), because of privacy laws and your employer is not supposed  to ask you. So with a letter from your surgeon, as well as any other paper work your job requires, should take care of the situation.  Good luck!

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Time off after Surgery

Back to work guidelines do vary from surgeon to surgeon, but I usually recommend taking at least one full week off of work after breast lift surgery. It is important that you discuss your back to work plans with your surgeon so that he or she is able to tailor a plan of care for you accordingly.

Frank Lista, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Back to work right after a breast lift?

Surely you can avoid lifting and turning patients for a week or so. My patients can go back to RN duties a week after a full breast lift but they are instructed to avoid lifting over 10 lbs, the first week, 20 lbs the second week, 30 lbs the 3rd and so on. They are also instructed to avoid reaching high overhead for six weeks after the procedure. The worse case scenario is a wound dehissance, more likely just a widened scar. So if you don't mind that, go ahead and turn patients but wash your hands afterward, there's MRSA out there!  Breast lift comes small, medium & large depending on what each patient needs. 

Lawrence Foster, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Time off for nurse

We recommend that breast lift patients schedule at least two weeks off from work in order to properly recover. If the patient's job involves strenuous physical activities, work may need to be postponed longer. For your job, you may need a little longer just to be on the safe side.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Breast Lift and Recommended Time off Work

For non-physical work it is possible to return after the weekend. As to nurse activities it is hard to know exactly what will be demanded of you during the orientation. Turning patients could be a problem so early. If you can be relegated to "light duty" during the first week back there should not be a problem. Do discuss this with your surgeon.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Resuming normal duties after mastopexy and breast lift

Strenuous activity should be minimized from one to two weeks after a mastopexy procedure.  Check with your plastic surgeon at the one week interval to see if you are ready to resume normal duties.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Time off after breast lift

I would recommend talking to your supervisor about light duty for the first few weeks after surgery.  You should be able to perform other parts of your job though. The incisions will need time to heal, and heaving lifting can influence this, not to mention you will be somewhat sore.  You said you've been wanting this surgery for many years, you probably want to give yourself the best chance of having everything heal properly.  

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Work after Breast Lift

You should be able to go to work at the orientation in spite of having hands on experience as long as you do not put pressure on the breasts, especially downward pressure. The only thing I caution my patients about is not to jog, do aerobics, dive into a swimming pool or do other things that put pressure on the breasts. You should have no problem in your new job for a few weeks as long as you are careful. You will, however, feel tired at the end of the day. This should gradually improve to normal by about a month or two.


Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Mastopexy and recovery issues

Basic healing for a mastopexy is two weeks. I recommend taking the first week off completely and the second week fairly normal activity with an elastic bra in place but nothing that would stress the breasts such as heavy lifting, extreme arm use, lying on the breasts, soaking in a tub, or unexpected blows to the chest. This might or might not be consistent with patient care nursing and you might create a problem you wished you had avoided. Most restrictions are removed after two weeks. The rest is tissue recovery, nerve, and scar maturation. 



Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

You are really cutting it close.

Having a breast lift is a big investment (both time and money) and I think it is unwise to push the envelope.  I tell my patients to take a week off of a desk job and two weeks off of a physical job.  Some patients just sail to a quick and easy recovery, but you cannot count on it.  Doing too much too soon makes for a sore and unpleasant and risky recovery. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.